About Me

Eleanor in a nut shell:

Courtney Love - my teenage obsession.

Courtney Love – my teenage obsession.

I was born in West London. At 13 I begged my mother to send me to boarding school – but I soon I discovered that boarding school wasn’t all ghost stories and midnight feasts. Still, I stuck with it. As a teenager I was obsessed with rock music. I dyed my hair a rainbow of colours, and my outfit of choice was an old baby doll nightie, ripped tights and DM boots. I’m still amazed my mother let me out of the house looking like that, but I’m also grateful that she did, as looking like a bad Courtney Love tribute act was obviously important to me at the time. Throughout school I kept a diary, wrote bad poetry, song lyrics (I even took guitar lessons at one point in a bid to be more like Courtney Love) and stories. I wanted to grow up and be an actress, or a rock star, or maybe both – like Courtney. It never occurred to me that I could be a writer. Writers were good at spelling and had neat handwriting.

me at uni

This is me when I was at Uni – around the time I decided I wanted to be a writer.

After school I went to Kings College London and did a degree in philosophy – I worked little and played hard, somehow I still passed. It was around then that I realised I wanted to become a writer. I was at a party telling a friend about a book I’d been reading. “Seriously,” I said. “The Northern Lights is A.M.A.Z.I.N.G! Philip Pullman has created a masterpiece – if I could write something like that then I’d die happy”. And then it hit me, like a thunder bolt. That’s what I had to do with my life, I had to become a writer.

After university I headed home – which was now in Canterbury – and pretended to still be a student whilst trying to write stories. One day my mother confronted me. Mum: You should get a proper job. Me: But I don’t know what to do. Mum: What do you like? Me: Books?

me and micky

My time as a Disney writer and editor!

So I moved back to London and started working in publishing. Children’s publishing. I then moved to the beautiful city of Bath to work for Parragon Books as a writer and editor on their Disney team.

It was at Parragon that the idea for Will Solvit came about…and the kind people at Parragon let me write my crazy idea down…and it became a book…and that book became a series…

As Will Solvit was launched into the world, I was put in touch with the lovely people at the Miles Stott Children’s Literary Agency. And they agreed to help me get some of my other stories published.

By this point I’d had an idea for a book about a boy whose family owned a zoo. Except I didn’t want to write about normal zoo animals like lions and tigers and bears, I wanted to write about weird animals. Animals that people believe don’t actually exist – animals like werewolves, phoenixes, death worms and yetis.

Machu Piccu in Peru – just one of the amazing places I travelled to.

Machu Piccu in Peru – just one of the amazing places I travelled to.

After my first Sammy Feral book was written, I decided to quit my job in Bath, leave my lovely flat and my friends behind and board a plane with my boyfriend, Luke, to travel the lengths of the Americas. We travelled from Canada to Argentina, polar bears to penguins, stopping off at nearly every country in between and having an adventure of a lifetime. Some friends of mine had kindly leant me a small laptop to travel with, and it was during my travels that I wrote The Blue Lady. I wrote in beach-side cafes, jungle huts, tropical islands, dusty cities and ancient ruins. Throwing caution to the wind and going on an adventure was the best decision I’ve ever made.

We were in Itacare in Brazil when I had an email from my agent telling me that Quercus Children’s Books wanted to publish Sammy Feral’s Diaries of Weird. I squealed and cried a lot, and Luke went out and bought a bottle of Brazilian wine, which we shared underneath a tree that was home to a family of noisy monkeys.

After we returned home from our adventure of a lifetime, we moved back to London and both got jobs. Luke found a job that allows him to wear a fancy suit and tell people what to do all day, and I found an awesome job as a part time fiction editor for Simon and Schuster Children’s Books, which is great as it still gives me time to write. Within a year of being back on English soil, The Blue Lady was signed by Hot Key Books and Quercus signed another two Sammy Feral books. So I had a busy year in 2012 trying to get everything written…

Our wedding day

Our wedding day.

And at the end of 2012, Luke – who I travelled the world with and has supported me every step of the way on my rocky quest to become an author – became my husband. My wedding day was truly one of the happiest days of my life.

Luke and I still live in London, he still wears a suit and tells people what to do, and I work part time editing other people’s books whilst writing my own. I’m currently working on a follow-up book to The Blue Lady. It will be another ghost story, and I love every minute of writing it!

 And that’s my story…but I’m still young…I hope there’s much more to come…

3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. robey goodman
    Feb 14, 2013 @ 18:17:30

    Well done Ellie, Harriet’s mum here. I remember you well from SMB and it’s great to see you doing so well. All the best for the future. Robey


  2. Tricia Playle
    Mar 08, 2013 @ 18:29:29

    Congratulations Ellie. So happy for you. Our love to all the family. Love Tricia and Ken x


  3. Marietta Steransak
    May 12, 2014 @ 20:28:08

    Just wanted you to know that my grand daughter LOVED the Will Solvit book, ” Mission of Menace”! She wrote a Mother’s Day message using the Morse Code in the book!!! Thank you!


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